Despite being tied down to the job the last few weeks, there has been some progress on the property and with spring making it's presence known, there are more and more projects on the planning board and in the works. I thought it might be interesting to write a post about some of our 'collections'. In the past, I have had a variety of collections over the years - ceramic pigs, miniature hats & hat boxes, and hedgehogs to name a few. As you may recall, one of the goals in my off-grid life is to not have a bunch of 'stuff' that serves no purpose other than to collect dust and cause clutter in the house. I am more lenient went it comes to outdoor collections, like the birdhouses I quickly filled the front yard with to make the property look like it was no longer abandoned.
First, I am going to share a digital collection. I have been feeding the wild birds all winter and Alan and I have been having fun trying to identify all the various types of birds that come to visit us now. Here are pictures of the various ones we have identified (I downloaded pictures from the internet rather than trying to get our birds to pose):
On a more off-grid note, we now have a collection of water tanks. In a past blog, I included a picture of the second water tank we installed - a cylindrical 275 gallon tank we mounted outside of our bathroom as an upgrade to our first tank, a 100 gallon stock tank. It catches rain water from the roof and acts as a reservoir for filling our toilet tank. The last rainfall we had was a drencher that lasted throughout the night and we woke up to a full and over-flowing tank! We now have plans to also pipe this tank over to the shower system. I am a little hesitant to add this convenience to our shower for fear of using too much water. We currently limit our showers to a 2 1/2 gallon bottle of water that we carry into the bathroom each time we want a shower. If we pipe the bathroom storage tank to the shower we will no longer have that 2 1/2 gallon limitation lurking in the back of our heads as we rush to rinse off all signs of soap before the water runs out in the bottle as we do now. We may get so extravagant as to go through 5 gallons of water for a single shower.
|Water Tank #2, we will be adding|
a rain gutter to the shed soon.
The water in it is what we pumped
from our tarp/totes collection system.
We treat the rain water (and well water) in two ways, depending on how we use it. First, we strain the water. We have a funnel with a fine screen mesh on the small opening at the bottom. Originally, we just dumped the water we wanted to strain into this funnel to fill our water storage bottles. However, depending on the volume of stuff being caught in the small screen at the bottom of the funnel, we were constantly stopping to clean out the funnel as we strained water. First we added a kitchen strainer to the top of the funnel to catch the larger debris before it went into the funnel. This helped, but we still needed to eliminate some of the smaller particles from reaching the tiny screened orifice at the end of the funnel. This led to our third layer of straining which is a wash cloth placed between the kitchen strainer and the funnel.
This strained water is used for anything that does not require potable water - laundry, cleaning, showers, initial rinsing of dirty dishes, etc. For any water that we will possibly be consuming such as the final rinsing of dishes, cooking and drinking we run the strained water though our Sawyer water filter which I have written about in past blog posts.
This week we added one more water tank to our collection. We bought this one at a Little Debbie outlet store and it is a deluxe model which is housed in an aluminum frame. This will be our mobile water tank. Although we currently have plenty of water between rain storms and our well, if the summer is as dry as last year, we will need to be making trips to the spring a few miles from our house. Now we can fill this large tank and transfer it to our storage tanks rather than going to the spring with our little 2 1/2 gallon water storage bottles we use in the house.
for transporting water from the spring
|This is soy lecithin, |
|Yep, the last off the yellow goo|
seems to be draining out.
|The deck wood becomes heating fuel.|
While working down here, Grayson also found reasons to take our chainsaw out into the woods near our yard and felled a few trees, most of which he cut up into lengths that will fit into the woodstove. I have also added these 'yule logs' to my collection when I go out and bring in wood for the day. These large and mainly fresh-cut logs burn slowly so we put them in the stove before going to bed so we do not have to get up as often to keep the fire going throughout the night.
|Zeke likes Grandma's crocheted rug.|
When making the yarn for the rug, I would start by cutting the bottom off the t-shirt at the arm pits. Only the bottom half of the shirt, the 'tube' below the arm pits is used to make the lengths of yarn. So, I now have a collection of dozens of t-shirts that have been cropped to arm pit length. Alan has suggested they should be my summer wardrobe, as they would be nice and cool, but I have relegated them to the rag box. I am sure there will be some upcoming spring and summer projects that require rags to be used in some manner.
|Maybe I should offer a prize to anyone that comes up with|
a crafty use for all these top-halves of t-shirts.